Dirty Grandpa Movie Review

Dirty Grandpa

If you’re into comedies where most of the jokes are attacks on Zac Efron’s masculinity then Dirty Grandpa is the movie for you.

Quick plot rundown, Efron plays Jason who has to escort his grandpa Dick, played by Robert De Niro, to a vacation in Florida.

Jason is a lawyer about to be married to his trophy wife fiancee, Meredith. Dick’s wife just died after a decade long fight with cancer.

The one thing on Dick’s mind after being faithful to his wife through ten years of serious illness is, you guessed it, having sex. (Really subtle naming of that character…)

Jason is forced into a wingman position as his grandpa tries to get in bed with a college girl.

Along the way Jason realizes his fiancee is a horrible person and he rediscovers his love of photography.

So the plot is pretty much what you’d expect if you saw the trailer. Shockingly the plot follows Campbell’s Hero’s Journey almost exactly but the doesn’t save the movie from the abyss it falls into.

What about the basic ingredients of comedy? The jokes and the laughs?

There isn’t much.

There are a lot of insults lobbed at Jason as he is the straight man. Most of those fall flat.

Dick’s physical abuse of Jason becomes a running joke. Why the writers thought that was funny enough to make a repeated joke, I don’t know. There’s no slapstick to it. It’s just a grandfather attacking his grandson because he thinks it’s funny.

The funniest moments centered on the unashamed lust shared between Dick and the college girl, Lenore, played by Aubrey Plaza. Everything else was pretty much just vulgarity masquerading as humor.

When I don’t like a movie I try to think who would like it. That’s a hard task with Dirty Grandpa. I’m a fan of South Park which is about as vulgar as it gets and I still hated this movie.

So should you see it? Absolutely not. Too much disgusting nudity, not enough real jokes, and stilted character development makes this one of the worst movies I’ve seen. If you’re going to the theaters see something else instead.

-GoCorral

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Sheerzen

Two notes about this city. First, it uses a numbering city in parenthesis to indicate which floor the current description applies to. Second, the concept for the history of this city was created in part by a member of my D&D group. His screen name is Zigfried and he deserves a lot of credit for developing the unique flavor of Sheerzen’s history.

Sheerzen.png

Sheerzen is a town of about 10,000 people built in the middle of Apollo’s Plains. The town was constructed by an early group of heroes, Brelfagar the Dwarven fighter, Shoree the Human paladin, Sunrise the Elven wizard, and Jeffery the Human cleric of the Muses. This adventuring party known as the Bronze Chords served their bronze dragon master, Rilopenaril. There are not many useful resources in the area around Sheerzen besides good soil. The city is not along any large rivers or trade routes. Earthquakes routinely rock the area destroying most buildings and any tunnels that would provide a connection to the Underdark. Sheerzen was constructed in this location precisely because it had little to offer. With no resources, the Bronze Chords hoped it would always be a peaceful city.

Sheerzen has only one building, a gigantic castle built atop an even bigger hill and surrounded by a moat. The keep rises about one thousand feet into the air. At the center of the tower is an empty space about forty feet across. This area is called the levitation elevator and bestows the power of levitation on all those who come into it.  There are stairs, but most residents use the elevator. The elevator does not reach the top six levels of the fortress. A magical waterfall goes through the center of this great empty space and provides all the water the citizens need. The waterfall disappears into a magical hole in the ground floor to prevent flooding.

The whole structure is reinforced with adamantine and lead making it impossible to teleport or scry into. The first five (1-5) levels of the castle are entirely defensive except for a park at the base of the elevator. These defensive levels are a show of force to visitors and an actual precaution against those who might attack Sheerzen. Hundreds of arrow slits look out on Apollo’s Hill making sure no army can approach within a mile without being shot at by ballistae, bows, crossbows, slings, catapults, and magical defenses.

The next dozen or so (6-19) levels are mostly commercial, so that tourists and visitors to the city need not go too far to find what they are looking for. The town sells commemorative items with a specialty in complex imitation weapons and armor for children to wear. Many famous painters, sculptors, and architects are also from Sheerzen and copies of their works are sold in numerous shops. The hotels and restaurants of the city are also on the commercial levels.

The next few (20-26) levels are where crafting takes place. These levels although unattractive need to be low in the fortress so that resources would not have to be taken all the way up to the top of the building. Sheerzen has a large available space for making items, but not enough people using that space. It would be a rival to Crafterton if it shared a similar central location in The Magical Lands. The work place and tools are free to use for all, but craftsmen must provide their own materials. A popular recreation for the people of Sheerzen is to see who can make the best of a particular type of item or how fast someone can make such an item.

The next couple dozen (27-93) levels are mostly residential with parks on some levels surrounding the elevator. A few hotels, restaurants, and other small businesses take up shop on these levels as well, but it is against an unenforced law for them to do so. These levels are considered claustrophobic by the people who do not live in Sheerzen because of the low ceiling on the wide boulevards.

The next (94) level of Sheerzen contains the city’s legal facilities, jail, and police headquarters. The police headquarters is on the inner circle with the jail in the middle circle and the courts and lawyer’s offices on the outer circle. The town has no punishments for which the jail is required. The jail is used to house criminals before their trials. Sheerzen’s legal code is regular except that during a siege or war almost every punishment is death. Capital punishment is always carried out by tossing the convict off the roof of the fortress. The landing spot is surrounded by a railing to prevent an innocent person being crushed by any falling felons.

The next three (95-97) levels are for the administrative offices of the town. The treasury of Sheerzen is on the 95th level with an extensive guard contingent to prevent theft. The bureaucrats are on these levels as well as the library and hospital. The elevator does not reach these levels. Permission from Sheriff Dratles or another person of similar importance is required to access the staircase to the 95th floor and above.

The 98th level is entirely empty except for the stairs going up and down directly across from each other. Most people upon entering this room for the first time find it unsettling due to the low ceiling. Some with weaker constitutions have even thrown up when walking across it. The rumor is that it serves some purpose for the defense of the city, but no one really knows.

The 99th and 100th levels make up the palace of the large royal family. The royals are descended from the Bronze Chords. Rilopenaril repeatedly seeded the adventurers’ descendants with his own bloodline ensuring that any member of the Sheerzen royal family would have some draconic features. Additionally all of the royal family members have some command over arcane power due to their draconic descent. Rilopenaril encouraged the development of this arcane power in the royal family and eventually he became obsessed with it. The dragon organized magical duels for his children to determine who was the best sorcerer. This tradition expanded until the successor to the current monarch was chosen by the winner of a series of lethal duels between the bronze dragon’s grandchildren.

Danar the Beastslayer was the most significant king in Sheerzen’s history. Exiled at an early age, Danar returned to the city after training for many years in the swamp that now bears his name. Danar slew his elder brother, Einhart, in a magical duel and claimed the crown. He joined the other heroes of the age in their fight against the tyranny of the dragons. Danar helped defeat his own ancestors, Rilopenaril and the dragon’s twin sister, Langudina. The mortal warrior locked away the dragon monarchs in the Orbs of Dragonkind, becoming the guardian of the Red Orb.

Rilopenaril left Sheerzen after his sister was locked away in the Bronze Orb. He guards the Bronze Orb at a hidden location close to the tower city. The conditions of Rilopenaril’s magical bondage allow him to visit Sheerzen for the coronations, funerals, and weddings of each successive monarch. The current king and queen are Dominiic and Freya. Forty years ago the Xorian army marched upon Sheerzen. The king and queen surrendered the city to Xoria on the condition that their line and traditions be allowed to continue. King Dominiic and Queen Freya elected to keep their mortality, but do not judge the decisions their subjects make. Under these conditions, a mortal and Dragovinian aristocracy have peacefully mixed in Sheerzen.

Sheerzen was built to be a haven for artisans and craftsmen to practice their art without worrying about their income. The city’s enchantments allow the monarchy to easily provide patronage for hundreds of artists. To defend the city the army is outfitted with the best weapons available and focuses on learning defensive battle strategies without losing a single man to the opponent’s weapons. Because the fortress creates its own food and water within it is always prepared for a siege. The magical nature of the monarchy extends to the army where mages are trained to dispel and counter enemy battle mages.

Danar has recently returned to life due to the destruction of the Red Orb. The magic that orchestrated his return will only allow him to rest once Invernix is defeated once more. Danar decided to delay his confrontation with Invernix due to the numerous other contemporary threats to the people of Cimmeria. Once he feels the world is safe enough, Danar will confront Invernix once more.

-GoCorral

Road Chip Movie Review

The_Road_Chip_Poster_2

Star Wars is the big movie of the season and we did want to see it, but not until January when the crowds have died down a little bit.

So my wife and I went to see the latest Chipmunks movie, Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip, instead.

The movie is a typical Alvin and the Chipmunks affair. Alvin does crazy stuff and everything escalates into a huge farce until Dave comes in and shouts, “ALVIN!”

This children’s movie taps into a primal fear that many kids have, that their parents won’t love them as much when their family gets bigger.

Dave is getting serious with his girlfriend and is planning a romantic weekend alone with her.

The Chipmunks find a diamond ring by his luggage and make the logical conclusion that he is going to ask her to marry him.

The Chipmunks hate this idea because Dave’s girlfriend’s son, Miles, bullies them.

Miles also dislikes their families joining together so he joins the Chipmunks in their cross country journey to Miami from LA to steal the ring and stop the proposal.

Through their journey the Chipmunks and Miles receive some valuable moral lessons and realize that they don’t mind being step-brothers after all.

The movie didn’t really stand out as an exceptional Chipmunks movie to me. There’s childish comedy and good dance/singing sequences like usual, but nothing truly spectacular.

The Chipettes have minor roles in the movie which was a little disappointing. It would’ve made sense for them to be there, but that would’ve made the script too complicated. Instead they spend most of the movie judging the last season of American Idol.

I’d definitely recommend the movie to people who are fans of the Chipmunks like myself. For those who haven’t been exposed to the Chipmunks yet, the movie is as good an entry into the franchise as you can get. Cheesy comedy and cute forest creatures singing high-pitched covers of popular music. Not much more to say than that.

-GoCorral

Education Graduation

I attended my wife’s graduation ceremony or her completion of her Masters of Arts in Education.

Her mom, dad, and grandma all came to Davis to join in the celebration.

And during the speech given by the university chancellor, the fire alarm went off!

We all had to slowly file out of the building while my mother-in-law helped my grandmother-in-law down the stairs.

We caught up to my wife, her friend, and her friend’s family and hung out with them, taking some “mid-graduation” photos.

After heading back inside we found the seats had shuffled around a little bit and another family was sitting where we’d been sitting before.

I got to sit next to a very well-dressed woman who quietly disapproved of me coming to a graduation ceremony in the same clothes I’d worn to work. Tight scheduling had forced me to do that, but she didn’t know that. Just a little frown out of her though. It was actually kind of funny.

My wife had decorated her graduation hat and we got to see her march on stage and get her apron draped over her or whatever it is.

Bedazzled with tons of stickers, tape, and paint adhesive to keep it all on.
Bedazzled with tons of stickers, tape, and paint adhesive to keep it all on.

There were a few more speeches besides the chancellor’s as well. All the usual stuff about moving forward and making the world a better place. The recipient of the faculty award had some interesting stuff to say about the necessity of being bilingual in California that I liked, but everything else was fairly typical for a graduation ceremony for teachers.

After leaving they gave us one of those little cards if you ever want to grab the official photographer’s photos of the events (Never done it. Way too expensive when we have our own photos).

See! My camera is just fine...
See! My camera is just fine…

After the ceremony we went back to our house for pizza and cake. My wife loved the cake that I picked out!

-GoCorral

Memorial Day Weekend 2015

My parents-in-law visited for Memorial Day weekend.

They’ve been coming up to Sacramento every Memorial Day weekend for ages because my father-in-law plays drums in the Sacramento Music Festival every year.

Look at those hands!
Look at those hands!
The difference for this visit was instead of all of us staying in a hotel in Sacramento, we had them stay over at our house in Davis.

They arrived on Friday night after we’d spent the day cleaning up the house (Things get really dirty when you’re still in the moving in process!).

My father-in-law wasn’t playing in the Sacramento Festival until Sunday, but he did have a gig in Oakland on Saturday night.

We spent Saturday hanging out and taking a tour of the activities in Davis.

Our new house is right by the Davis Greenbelt, a walking path that goes throughout the whole city and connects most of the city’s parks. We went walking on that and showed the in-laws the neighborhood that we live in now.

They got to visit with the cats and see Carma’s injury.

After my father-in-law left for his job in Oakland we went to our old apartment which we are still paying our lease on and swam in the pool there. I didn’t swim because I thought it was still too cold, but my wife and mother-in-law did.

Sunday morning I had an unfortunate surprise of having to do more schoolwork. I’d thought I was done, but it turned out that I needed to redo one of my lab reports. I spent the morning doing that and then we went to the Music Festival.

Usually we go out for ice cream after the festival, but this time we went to our favorite ice cream place, Leatherby’s, before. Ice cream for lunch is great!

The Festival was a lot of fun. The room my father-in-law’s band, The Royal Society Jazz Orchestra, played in was so full that even though we were related to one of the band members it was difficult to find a seat.

After dancing and listening to some 20s and 30s style jazz we came back home and I continued to work on my lab report late into the night.

The next morning I continued to work on my report with a break to chat and talk with the in-laws before they left.

A great little visit from family. Lots of fun!

We figured out we could probably use another little trashcan, a lamp, and some hangers for future guests.

That’s the story from Memorial Day Weekend!

-GoCorral

Mother’s Day 2015

My mother passed away a few years ago, but I am lucky to have a wonderful step-mother to spend Mother’s Day with.

My wife and I drove back home in the morning to visit our mothers. I dropped her off and spent a little bit of time with my parents-in-law before going over to my parents’ house (they live in the same city).

My parents were out at the farmer’s market when I got there (a Sunday tradition for them). I played with their dog a little bit and puzzled over the mail I was receiving there. Apprently I now have a subscription to Car and Driver magazine for some unknown reason.

When they got back they announced a surprise, my best friend would be visiting as well! Apparently his parents were spending some time in the Netherlands so he’d been hanging out with my parents for company.

We chatted a bunch and made snickerdoodles. The cookie baking was a Mother’s Day activity so we joked non-stop about it. My friend and I got on our knees to be “children.” We pretended to mess up the recipe by adding “one and a half eggs.” The usual stuff.

The cookies turned out really good, obviously due to adding one and a half eggs.

We went on a walk up to “the dish.” Everyone in Palo Alto already knows what that is but I will explain for those of you who don’t know.

A lot of Palo Alto attractions are remnants of the two big owners of the land around there, Stanford and Coutts. Stanford owned a huge amount of land in the hills behind Palo Alto.

That land was never developed or turned into part of the college. Instead it is an open space preserve where you can go walking up in the hills.

At the top of one of the steep hills behind a chain-link fence is a giant satelitte dish, probably about 100 feet in diameter.

“The dish,” as everyone calls it, is part of the program to contact alien life. It sends signals out and listens for responses. Nothing yet!

We came back after the walk and opened presents. I got my step-mom a Ursula K. Le Guin interpretation of Lao-Tzu’s poetry. She likes Le Guin and both her and my dad are fans of Eastern philosophy. She seemed excited to read it and I hope it is as good as her expectations.

We hugged goodbye and I took half the cookies with me. My friend took the other half.

I went back to my in-laws house and picked up my wife there after taking some pictures. We drove back home through the heavy Mother’s Day traffic.

Happy belated Mother’s Day to everyone else’s mothers who I didn’t see yesterday!

-GoCorral

Bucket List

Around Thanksgiving last year I made a bucket list for myself. A bucket list is a list of things you want to do before you die (kick the bucket).

So here’s the list along with why I want to do each thing.

1. Finish my Things Fall Apart screenplay and attempt to turn it into a movie.
I read Chinua Achebe’s novel, Things Fall Apart, in high school and one of my first thoughts upon finishing it was, “This would make an awesome movie.” I set out to find the movie and… there isn’t one. There is a TV show, but it was produced in Nigeria and I couldn’t find a DVD version available in the USA. I started a screenplay adaption of the book and also seriously considered going to Bard for college where Achebe taught while he was still alive. I’d still like to see a movie of Things Fall Apart and with no one else working on it as far as I know, it’s up to me! I would have to get permission from Achebe’s family at some point though.

2. Have kids.
Pretty simple American dream stuff here. I like children a lot. I want to have some of my own.

3. Coach soccer for my kids.
This was one of the big things that my dad and I did together to bound when I was a kid. He coached my AYSO soccer teams so I got to hang out with him a lot over the years. I’d like to have the same sort of bond with my kids.

4. Attend a dance recital for my kids.
While I played soccer as a kid, my wife did dancing. Since I want our kids to play soccer it’s only fair that they dance too. I can’t teach dancing, but I can still support my kids doing it by going to see them.

5. See Wicked.
People have been telling me how good this musical is ever since it came out and ten years later I still haven’t see it or the movie. I should fix that before I die.

6. Go to a secluded ruin in Greece.
I love ancient Greek and Roman culture. I visited Rome and Athens with my sister in high school. I got to see a lot of the still intact buildings while I was there like the Pantheon, Partheon, Colosseum, and the Temple of Olympian Zeus. I’d like to see other ruins that are in more secluded areas instead of being in the downtown tourist places of capital cities. Greece has plenty of secluded islands with ancient ruins in the Aegean, so I’d like to go to one of those. Preferably with my wife coming along.

7. Learn ancient Greek.
Part of the whole loving ancient Greek and Roman culture. There wouldn’t be much purpose to knowing ancient Greek beyond doing it for its own sake. I might be able to read the Iliad in the original language but I have a feeling that I’d still enjoy the translated version better because I wouldn’t need to look up what a word means every five lines. Still! I wanna learn ancient Greek!

8. Have a popular website/attached sites.
This site. The one you’re on right now. And/or the Twitch and YouTube channels I’ve started up.

9. Design something for a video game that is actually used in that video game later on.
I’d like this to be through merit along. Something like designing a champion for League of Legends that Riot Games actually uses in the game. That’s unlikely because A) Riot avoids using fan made ideas to avoid copyright issues, and B) I might not be good enough at designing video game concepts to pull this off. If all else fails a few of the larger rewards for video game Kickstarter campaigns allow you to create something for the game. If merit doesn’t pan out for whatever reason, I can always use money.

10. Buy a house.
More American dream stuff. Pretty simple. I think most people want a place to live that belongs to them and them alone.

11. Do a dance routine with my wife to Aqua’s “Barbie Girl”
When I was in elementary school I went to a sleepover camp. One night there was a dance where all the kids and the counselors got together, danced, hung out, and watched movies. Two of the counselors did some sort of choreographed routine to Aqua’s “Barbie Girl” that amazed me ever since. I’d like to replicate it in some way with my wife.

12. Finish the novel/novel series I’ve been working on called Light’s Shadow.
I had a recurring dream when I was a kid where I inserted myself into various TV shows and comics that I watched/read. I started writing a novel of it and I’d like to finish it before I die. I’d also like to publish it before I die, but given that the premise of the novel includes about a dozen copyrighted works, I doubt that’s happening. I might be able to put it on a fan fiction website though.

13. Finish the Gurutama campaign setting and create a PDF of it that I can upload here.
In the process of doing this one on here already. The end goal is to have something that resembles an official D&D campaign setting in one document. Illustrations, borders, page numbers, etc. The whole thing.

14. Invent a cool biology thing.
One of my idols is Sir William Lawrence Bragg, the youngest scientist to ever win the Nobel prize at 25 years old. He, along with his father, invented X-ray crystallography which was used to discover the double-helix structure of DNA and many other molecular structures. Unfortunately it is virtually impossible to get the Nobel prize at that age today. Nobel prizes in the sciences are often given ten years after an initial experiment as the Nobel committee waits for others to replicate the work of the original discoverer. Most people don’t have amazing scientific discoveries until they’re at least 25 years old which would make it difficult to copy Sir William Lawrence Bragg. I’d still like to do something of scientific significance. Hopefully something to do with endosymbiosis, but I’ll take whatever the world ends up giving me.

15. Go camping in Yosemite with my wife and kids.
My family did this a lot when I was a kid and I really liked it. Got to keep the tradition alive!

And there you have it. My bucket list objectives as of January 2015.

-Mister Ed